Choose to be happy

3 years ago

We cannot always be sweet. What a revelation that is. Everyday life and human nature very often put a wrinkle in our resolve to handle everything with a smile as we go humming along the pathway of life. 

That little jig we do is often plagued with a touch of arthritis and a kink or two as we navigate through the sometimes unwelcome raindrops that fall upon our heads, blur our vision, and ultimately put a damper upon our best of intentions. We get sidetracked by the unwelcome phone call, devastating news story, unexpected death, monumental debt, loss of employment or broken heart. Every once in a while that stranger you stand in line behind at the post office does not respond to your smile; a well meaning tactic you have relied upon for most of your life. 

Not everyone has bluebirds and butterflies hovering over their heads, my friends. Yes, indeed; sometimes our intentions to be cheerful and optimistic get cut off at the pass. 

Not so long ago, I was driving about in my PT Cruiser with the top down, coping with the excessive heat of the day. Headed toward me was a black pickup, moving rather fast. I could see one very tan hand resting on the driver side window. Attached to that hand was a middle finger that was undoubtedly pointed directly at me as we passed. The smile I had prepared remained frozen in place. Was I taking up too much of the road? Did he think I was driving erratically or out of control? 

I pulled into a parking spot and in Belinda-fashion, launched myself into deep thought. Of course, there was no logical reason for the gesture or the display of irritation toward me. My feelings were injured and the wind was snapped right out of my sails. Why did such a glorious day suddenly turn so dark? 

We are responsible for our own happiness; a truth I am familiar with. I cannot blame my sudden change of mood on the man in the truck. I put the top up on my little convertible for the remainder of the day, despite the warmth. The errands I needed to take care of were completed, but there was no wind in my hair or music from my FM radio soaring up into the clouds. 

Individually, we cannot always be cordial, but we can always attempt to be kind. I have certainly not always returned a smile and I am guilty of not reciprocating a hello here and there. I have been reluctant to join in on a conversation – all during times when things were not flowing smoothly in my world. I believe that now, more than ever, it is important to reach out to each other, whether it be a quick hello or a random and pleasant exchange of words while in line at the grocery store. 

I am currently on an adventure, but I will return here to Northern Yarns, doing what I love most: writing and sharing my experiences with all of you. Be safe and take care of yourself and each other. And of course, let us all remember to be kind. 

Belinda Ouellette lives in Caribou with her Goldendoodle, Barney. You may email her at